Thursday, February 23

California May Soon Regulate Pet Grooming

I read an article on Dogster this morning that leaves me with mixed feelings.  The Sacramento Bee published an article stating that California may soon pass a bill that requires pet groomers to be regulated.  Below is the Dogster article, I want to share this with you, my thoughts will follow the article.

Grooming may seem like an easy-breezy profession, with shampoo in the eyes or an uneven haircut being about the only consequences of a grooming error. But it’s a serious business, and when things go amiss, they can do so in a big way, including:
• Shearing off body parts such as nipples, ears, and even tail tips
• Wounding a dog, gluing over the wound, covering the injury with fur, and the wound later becoming severely infected
• Dropping a dog, resulting in serious bodily injury
• Dogs dying from heat exhaustion in cage dryers
Most groomers are extremely conscientious, and little accidents (nicks, cutting to the quick of the nail) can happen to anyone. But a few careless or ill-educated (completely noneducated in some cases) groomers can cause the whole industry to be questioned, and can keep people resisting a trip to a groomer in order to keep their pets safe.
San Diego Senator Juan Vargas is trying to make the industry safer, and has crafted a bill that would require vocational training for groomers. It would mandate that they pass a state-issued exam, and obtain a license that costs up to $350. If the bill passes, California would be the first U.S. state to require a vocational license for groomers.
Some groomers think it’s a great idea. Others say no education can take the place of experience, and that experience should be taken into account.
“You can’t regulate experience. If you’re trying to regulate the problems, you potentially mislead the consumers into believing the regulations or licensing is an equivalent of skills or experience,” Pamela Demarest, the owner of Sacramento’s Launderdog & More! grooming service and pet shop, said in an article in The Sacramento Bee. “To have the state of California be the tail that wags the dog is a mistake.”

Vargas thinks groomers should uphold professional standards in the same way as hairstylists, lawyers, and doctors, and hopes that this kind of problem would be far less common if the bill passes.
I think you can all see my concern.  Much like the training world, just because someone passes a few tests and has a license, it does not make them a good trainer... experience does.  This is where my mixed feelings come in, I do believe the education and licensing is important, I just would hope they would allow people that have been grooming for years to opt out of the class and go straight to the test for the license.

What I will say that I agree with is that something has to be done to ensure the safety of our dogs.  Beyond what is mentioned above, there are serious behavior issues that can arise in a dog because of things that have happened at a groomer.  I have a client that has a young dog and she has always been friendly and excited to see other people until her groomer changed and they nicked her, glued the skin and fur over the nick and sent her on her way.  Luckily my client found the glued hair and got it off before infection set in.  But it took us months to get her to approach people again.  Her world was shattered that a place that was safe, fun and rewarding turned into a negative experience.

If there is a way to make sure the groomers have a specific set of knowledge about technique and follow specific guidelines for safety and cleanliness, I will of course support this, but I just hope that they make it fair to all those groomers out there that learned in a non-traditional way but are very good.  I do think that if these groomers were tested, they should be able to pass no problem.

What do you think?

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